Punchestown Champion Chase

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The Punchestown Champion Chase is a Grade 1 race over two miles on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival meeting in late April.

The Punchestown Champion Chase is held on the 30th of April 2024.

The race usually attracts horses that ran in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Notable past winners include Flagship Uberalles (2003), Moscow Flyer (2004), Sizing Europe (2012 and 2014) and Un De Sceaux (2018, 2019).

The Punchestown Champion Chase is the 4th race on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival.

Energumene who won the race last year is an odds-on favourite for Willie Mullins to take this prize in 2024.

Find out more about the Punchestown Champion Chase:

Punchestown Champion Chase

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Punchestown Champion Chase Previous Winners

Here are the previous winners of the Punchestown Champion Chase:

2013Sprinter Sacre7Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2014Sizing Europe12Andrew LynchHenry de Bromhead
2015Felix Yonger9Danny MullinsWillie Mullins
2016God’s Own8Paddy BrennanTom George
2017Fox Norton7Robbie PowerColin Tizzard
2018Un de Sceaux10Patrick Mullins[a]Willie Mullins
2019Un de Sceaux11Paul TownendWillie Mullins
no race 2020 [c]
2021Chacun Pour Soi9Paul TownendWillie Mullins
2022Energumene8Paul TownendWillie Mullins
2023Energumene9Paul TownendWillie Mullins

Famous Punchestown Champion Chase Winners

Viking Flagship won this race as a six-year-old in 1993, one of two victories within 3 days at the Punchestown Festival for David Nicholson’s gelding. He went on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1994 and 1995. His half-brother Flagship Uberalles won for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson in 2003. He had won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2002 and the Tingle Creek Chase for three successive seasons from 1999 to 2001.

In 2004 the Punchestown Champion Chase was won by another Champion chaser in Moscow Flyer. He won the Queen Mother Champion Chase for Jessica Harrington in 2003 and 2005. His 27 career victories also included the Tingle Creek Chase (2003, 2004), the Melling Chase (2004, 2005) and the Arkle Challenge Trophy (2002).

Paul Nicholls won the race with Twist Magic (2008) and Master Minded (2009). The latter was a dual Queen Mother Champion Chase winner (2008 and 2009). Sizing Europe won the Cheltenham race in 2011 and won here in 2012 and 2014 for Henry de Bromhead and Andrew Lynch. He was denied a hat-trick in this race by Nicky Henderson’s Sprinter Sacre in 2013.

Nicky Henderson’s gelding was officially rated the third-best chaser of modern times by Timeform, behind only Arkle and Flyingbolt. He started at the prohibitive odds of 1-9 favourite in the Punchestown Champion Chase betting when winning easily by five and a half lengths.

Un De Sceaux became the seventh dual winner in the history of the race when successful for Willie Mullins in 2018 and 2019. He won 23 of his 32 career starts and over £1.3 million in prize money.

Key Punchestown Champion Chase Trials

Four of the last eleven winners have contested the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on their most recent start. Newmill (2006), Master Minded (2009) and Sprinter Sacre (2013) won both races in the same season.

Three of the eleven winners won the Melling Chase at Aintree last time out; Sprinter Sacre (2013), God’s Own (2016) and Fox Norton (2017).

The Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park is another useful form guide for the Punchestown Champion Chase.

There is no discernible age bias for winners of the Punchestown Champion Chase.

Sizing Europe (2014) became the oldest winner at the age of twelve and Un De Sceaux was an eleven-year-old when recording his second victory in the race in 2019.

Big Zeb (2011), Sizing Europe (2012) and Un De Sceaux (2018) all won at the age of ten.

Rust Never Sleeps was the first six-year-old to win here in 1990. Viking Flagship (1993), Twist Magic (2008) and Master Minded (2009) also won from this age group.

Favourites have a mixed record in this race with only three victories in the past eleven seasons.

Sizing Europe was 8-13 favourite in 2012 and Sprinter Sacre long odds-on favourite in 2013.

Chacun Pour Soi started 6-5 favourite in 2021.

The longest-priced winner in recent times was Golden Silver who was sent off a 12-1 shot when beating Forpadydeplasterer and Sizing Europe in 2010.

Previous course form is a big factor in this race with nine of the last eleven having raced at least once at Punchestown.

An official rating of 164 or higher is usually required to win this race.

Felix Yonger was the lowest-rated recent winner, scoring when rated 158 in 2015.

The highest official rating was Sprinter Sacre (188) in 2013. That figure was extraordinary, 16lbs superior to the next top rated Sizing Europe (2012) and Chacun Pour Soi (2021) on 172.

Punchestown Champion Chase – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Willie Mullins equalled the record of six Punchestown Champion Chase winners set by Jim Dreaper when successful with Chacun Pour Soi in 2021. His previous winners were Micko’s Dream (2001), Golden Silver (2010), Felix Yonger (2015) and Un De Sceaux (2018, 2019).

British-trained runners also have a good record in this race.

Nicky Henderson won it for the third time when Sprinter Sacre scored in 2013 following success with Big Matt (1998) and Get Real (2000).

Paul Nicholls won in successive seasons with Twist Magic (2008) and Master Minded (2009).

Tom George’s God’s Own (2016) and Colin Tizzard’s Fox Norton (2017) were other British-trained winners.

Betting on the Punchestown Champion Chase

Betting on the Punchestown Champion Chase inevitably revolves around the form of the Cheltenham and Aintree Festival meetings.

The betting market does not really take shape until the week of the race once final running plans are confirmed. Although shock results are rare, it is not a foregone conclusion that the Cheltenham form will be confirmed on a different track and often quicker ground.

Summary of the Punchestown Champion Chase

The Punchestown Champion Chase is one of the main races of this fantastic festival.

It involves many of the horses that competed in the Melling Chase at Aintree or the Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

It is often a race to saviour and one of our favourites of the week.

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